Hair growth by inhibiting enzymes

Hair growth by inhibiting enzymes
 

In experiments with mouse and human hair follicles researchers found that drugs that inhibit the Janus kinase (JAK) family of enzymes promote rapid and robust hair growth when directly applied to the skin.

The study raises the possibility that drugs known as JAK inhibitors could be used to restore hair growth in multiple forms of hair loss such as that induced by male pattern baldness, and additional types that occur when hair follicles are trapped in a resting state.

Scientists noticed that mice grew more hair when the drug was applied topically to the skin than when given internally. This suggested JAK inhibitors might have a direct effect on the hair follicles in addition to inhibiting the immune attack.

When the researchers looked more closely at normal mouse hair follicles, they found that JAK inhibitors rapidly awakened resting follicles out of dormancy. Hair follicles do not produce hair constantly but rather by cycling between resting and growing phases.

JAK inhibitors trigger the follicles' normal reawakening process, the researchers found. Mice treated for five days with one of two JAK inhibitors sprouted new hair within 10 days, greatly accelerating the hair follicle growth phase. No hair grew on untreated control mice in the same time period.

Two JAK inhibitors have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. One is approved for treatment of blood diseases (ruxolitinib) and the other for rheumatoid arthritis (tofacitinib). Both are being tested in clinical trials for the treatment of plaque psoriasis and alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss.

It remains to be seen if JAK inhibitors can reawaken hair follicles that have been suspended in a resting state because of androgenetic alopecia (which causes male and female pattern baldness) or other forms of hair loss. So far, all the experiments have been conducted in normal mice and human follicles. Experiments to address hair follicles affected by hair loss disorders are under way.

http://newsroom.cumc.columbia.edu/blog/2015/10/23/blocking-enzymes-in-hair-follicles-promotes-hair-growth/

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